Regional
10:34 am
Tue December 7, 2010

Texas To Gain Basic Insurance Rights

Texas – Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin has approved rules that mean health, life and disability insurers will no longer have blanket authority to decide what's covered.

Monday's decision will end provisions in most health and disability plans, called discretionary clauses, that give insurers the right to interpret policies and decide what benefits must be paid.

The Dallas Morning News reported Tuesday that 22 other states have similar discretionary clause bans.

The rules take effect Feb. 1 for disability policies and June 1 for health and life policies. Consumers will be able to challenge what they consider unfair denial of benefits, by complaining to state regulators or suing insurance companies.

Insurers raised concerns about higher costs, more lawsuits and argued that discretionary clauses have been used for several years in Texas no adverse effects on consumers.

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Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.